Athens Academy did not have to look far when the time came to find a new boys basketball coach.
Michael Salvia, who has served as assistant boys basketball coach for the past three seasons, was named interim coach on Monday afternoon, Athens Academy athletic director Kevin Petroski confirmed.
Salvia, 34, a native of Liberty, New York, succeeds Ed Wilson, who was the Spartans coach the last three seasons and left the school in late June. Wilson compiled an overall coaching record of 44-33 with a Region 8-A mark of 22-17 at Athens Academy.
In the 2018-19 season, the Spartans went 18-5 overall with an 8-2 record in the region and advanced to the second round of the Class A Private state tournament.
“I’m very excited,” said Salvia on Monday afternoon. “We have a great group of kids, a great community and great support for the basketball program. I’m excited, the kids are excited, the parents are excited. A lot of people around Athens Academy are excited for the direction the boys basketball team is going.”
Petroski said he received between 35 and 40 applications for the position and said familiarity with Salvia was a key component in his appointment as interim coach.
“He’s somebody familiar with the school and the student-athletes and he’s well-liked by all,” said Petroski. “He’s already hit the ground running. We met today and he’s already excited about making plans for this year."
Salvia, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Utica College in New York and his master’s degree in secondary education and teaching from Grand Canyon University, was an assistant girls basketball coach for three years at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, before joining the faculty at Athens Academy. He also coached for a year at the Maret School in Washington, DC.
He also had head coaching jobs at a public school in New York and for a Nike-sponsored Elite Youth Basketball League AAU team, also in New York.
“We want to compete,” said Salvia of his Spartans team. “Winning and losing isn’t really a priority for us. We think if we take care of the details and compete, success will take care of itself. If we come in every day and compete in practice, that should carry right over, and the results will show themselves once the games come.”
When the Athens Academy basketball and volleyball team take to the floor at the Sinkwich Spartan Center this year, they’ll be playing on a recently renovated surface, Petroski said.
“We sanded the floor all the way down, which we will do periodically,” he said. “We painted a new logo in the middle of the court and we added permanent volleyball court lines. We had tape down before and it was very unsightly and unattractive and didn’t look good over time.
“The main thing a lot of us are excited about is we used water-based coating over oil-based, which we previously used. Over time it tends to have that yellowing effect you see on some courts, and ours was really bad. It looks really good. The wood has a lighter appearance.”